The pandemic restrictions certainly shook up the Reykjavík bar scene in 2020, but that doesn’t mean that our favourite drinking institutions didn’t do everything they could to create a safe environment to assuage their COVID-19 anxiety. In fact, the past year saw a plethora of new spots opening and old classics keeping the spirit of the city alive. Because let’s be real: Icelanders love to drink. In fact, there is probably nothing Icelanders like doing more than drinking, which could be why this country doesn’t have a space program. But hey—we’ve done pretty well at vaccinations.
Best Place For Cocktails
The cocktail culture in Iceland has been growing massively from year-to-year, but the unanimous front-runner for the entire panel this year was Jungle. Leather sofas, jungle plants, and high ceilings decorate the beautiful old building, making it almost reminiscent of some London gentlemen’s adventurer club (without the stuffiness and bigotry). Their ever-changing menu has seen a number of inventive cocktails bringing together ingredients like beetroot and coffee or brennivín and absinthe. “They even have a proper, well-designed website, unlike most bars on the planet,” one panel member observed. “They really are just, in one word, phenomenal. I would go there every day if my wallet allowed me!” Another agreed.
Three words: Cocktails on tap. That’s what you get at newcomer Stereo. Run by the minds behind Session Craft Bar, the place quickly became a favourite of the city’s cocktail enthusiasts. “It’s just so new in Iceland and I hope it will catch on. It’s a rough space that almost feels like an abandoned factory in the best way and it has a great view,” one said. “Cocktails on tap will be the new normal soon, I think. And they’re doing it now. Plus, their negroni is just perfection.”
The one. The only. Apótek. The spacious, upscale restaurant is a stalwart in the local cocktail scene. “Their bartenders have always been strong. They know what they are doing. It’s just a classic and you won’t be disappointed,” one panellist said. We agree.
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